Observations of a geek.

Control a 3-wire zone valve with a 2-wire thermostat

I always thought heat-only thermostats needed only two wires (red and white), until this week when I decided to switch from my old school round Honeywell T-26 thermostat to digital programmable thermostats. Off to Home Depot to buy some Honeywell RTH2300B Digital Programmable 5-2 Day Thermostats. After installing one I discovered that it called for heat but never shut it off. That's because the thermostats I bought lack support for the third wire (B, blue) on my Honeywell V2008A zone valves, the wire that closes the valve.

Tabletop Onager

A few weeks ago I built a tabletop trebuchet. After playing with it my sons and I decided we needed another machine to hurl our balls back to the trebuchet. Rather than build another trebuchet I decided to build another seige engine. After reviewing the different specimens from the different categories of seige engines (counter weight, tension, and torsion) a torsion powered machine seemed like it would be neat. Since this would be my first torsion machine I decided to build an onager.

Important Solutions Warrant Proper Analysis Prior to Product Evaluation

I can't count the number of times a customer has started a brand new program/project request by asking me to implement a solution instead of solve a problem. Usually it comes in the form of, "Would you install XYZ application for us?" or better yet, "Does our environment support Ruby on Rails?"

Tabletop Trebuchet

I was walking through Home Depot with my six year old son. As we walked around the store looking for a toilet seat I had the thought, "I bet my boys would have fun with a little trebuchet." I know, strange isn't it. Anyway, I had an idea of how I would build it so I bought some pieces of wood and we headed home to make it. After a quick Google search and some sketching on my white board my boys and I headed to the workshop.

Assimilated by the iPhone Borg

I took the plunge, got the iPhone 3G [S] as a gift for Father's Day.

A big thank you to Saferating, Inc. who picked up the tab on the monthly data plan. Without your contribution, this missionary was going w/pen & notebook for scheduling.

The award for best feedback from the challenge goes to K. Hokanson, "Productivity and distraction have nothing to do with the device." So true.

Solution for umount "device is busy" errors

We've all experienced it. We want to unmount something and the device is busy. Enter the lazy switch for the umount command.
umount -l /dev/
As soon as the last process stops using the device it gets unmounted. Many times this happens instantly.

Why I don't become a fan of pages for generic things and concepts on Facebook

The "page" feature of Facebook is designed to provide a way for people to become fans of people, organizations, bands, etc. These fan pages are available to people who do not have Facebook accounts and administrators of fan pages have the ability to send updates to fans. Anyone with a Facebook account can create a fan page about anything, even things for which they are not the authority.